As the latest COVID-19 wave continues to overwhelm Pierce County and its hospitals, a major retailer announced plans to temporarily close a store over the weekend for cleaning, with more than 50 active cases linked to the site.
Walmart officials told The News Tribune on Saturday that the Lakewood store on 7001 Bridgeport Way will close temporarily from 2 p.m. Saturday for a third-party cleaning service to come in and clean the place.
The store will remain closed until Sunday (January 9), with plans to reopen at 06.00 10 January.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department listed the store as of Jan. 6 with 52 active COVID cases linked to the site.
In a statement issued Saturday, the dealer said:
“We want to help health authorities working against the pandemic. In support of this effort, we have chosen to temporarily close our Lakewood store at 7001[ads1] Bridgeport Way W. today at 2 p.m. as part of an ongoing company-initiated program. This will provide additional time for a third-party specialist to further clean the store and will also give our employees extra time to fill up shelves and prepare the store to serve the community again. ”
“When the store reopens on Monday, we will continue to conduct health assessments of employees, and all unvaccinated employees will still need to wear face covers,” it added.
A worker who contacted The News Tribune via e-mail on Saturday claimed that “Many of us have not paid enough sick leave to stay home, and risk losing our jobs if we do not report for work in the middle of the outbreak, even though we are afraid of infection. “
Walmart’s corporate page describes the leave policy as follows: “Our Covid leave policy, which was implemented in March 2020 to support employees during the pandemic, remains in place and has been extended until March 31, 2022. The policy provides up to two weeks of paid leave if an employee incurs COVID-19, if a facility is part of an imposed quarantine or if an employee is required to quarantine by a healthcare professional, government agency or Walmart. This is in addition to our standard PTO options. ”
As new COVID cases have risen sharply in the state and Pierce County specifically, so have business outbreaks.
In TPCHD’s outbreak report issued on 6 January, 139 enterprises reported outbreaks in a total of 1172 cases, an increase of 43 per cent from the previous week.
The company with the most outbreaks listed so far on TPCHD’s website is the Fred Meyer distribution center in Puyallup with 86 active cases. The site has encountered several outbreaks during the pandemic.
The NW Retirement Center, a long-term care facility in Tacoma, reported the second highest amount with 77 active cases.
In addition to the Lakewood side, Walmart’s 31st Avenue store in Puyallup is currently listed with 37 active cases, and the Union Avenue store in Tacoma with 11.
This is not the first time Walmart stores have been on the list, with other places in Pierce County registering outbreaks and being listed for several weeks on the TPCHD list during this autumn’s Delta wave.
The retailer says it has chosen to close nationwide for affected stores in areas with high transmission.
Walmart noted that workers can receive their vaccinations at “their home pharmacy, around the clock.”
The dealer allows two hours of paid leave for his workers to be vaccinated, and up to three days of paid leave if necessary for a vaccination response.
“We are currently offering $ 150 bonuses for employees who choose to be fully vaccinated and have not previously received the vaccination incentive,” it said.
This story was originally published January 8, 2022 11:05 AM.